Tag Archives: Prayer and Life Workshop

Syncing not Sinking

I have to admit, I really like my new iPhone. On Thanksgiving day, I dropped my old phone in the toilet. It said, “I just learned a new trick,” and then it died. I mourned the loss of my phone for several days. After all,  it had been with me for many years–it was an iPhone 4–my original iPhone. I was very sad. I had lost a dear friend.

In early December, I started shopping for a new phone. In the end, I decided to splurge and buy an iPhone X.  Considering that I had my old phone for so many years, I anticipate that this one will be with me for a long time. At least, that’s how I justified the expense.

One of the things I like about my iPhone is that I can sync it with other devices. It syncs with the Bluetooth in my car so that I can make and receive phone calls there. That is very handy at times. It is synced with my Fitbit. Amazingly, when I get texts or phone calls my Fitbit vibrates and I can read the text or the name and number of the person calling right on my Fitbit. That is also very handy because it means that I don’t have to keep my phone in my pocket. (That’s how my old one ended up in the toilet.) When I lost my Fitbit, an app on my phone helped me find it.

While my phone doesn’t have to be directly in contact with the other devices in order to sync, it must be within a certain proximity to work. This started me thinking about my relationship with my heavenly Father.  It is necessary for me to sync with him every day in order for our relationship to work. If I get too far away, we can no longer be synced. When I get into troubled waters, I want to know that he is near, but also when things are going well, I like to share the good times with him, too.

So how do I stay in sync? One of the best parts of being retired is that I have more time for morning devotions. This is a very important way to start my day. It seemed that my devotions were getting a little stale. So I dug out the books from the Prayer and Life Workshop  I participated in a few years ago.  There is a prayer I say everyday. Some days, I struggle more than others to mean the words I say (especially that “I am ready for everything”), but I say them anyway. This is how I sync with God.

Prayer of Surrender

My Father,

I surrender myself to you;                                                                                                do with me what you will,                                                                                                whatever you do, I thank you for it.

I am ready for everything,                                                                                                and I accept everything,                                                                                                    provided that your will be done in me                                                                       and in all your creatures.                                                                                                   I desire nothing else, Oh my God.

I entrust my soul into your hands.                                                                               I give it to you, my God,                                                                                                      with all the love in my heart,                                                                                           because I love you,                                                                                                                and it is a necessity to love you,                                                                                    to surrender myself to you, to entrust myself                                                      into your hands without measure,                                                                              with infinite confidence,                                                                                                    for you are my Father. Amen.


Good Advice from Gus

rheddens_order_delivered_jpgIn Red, White, and Bloopers!  Spike plans a prank to get even with his sister’s boyfriend Todd, who is a bully. Though Todd is the intended target of Spike’s prank, it is the mayor who becomes the victim. Spike is ordered to do community service. Fortunately for Spike, the judge assigns Gus to supervise his community service.

Spike knows that Gus is disappointed in him. He is prepared to receive what he calls “the big lecture,” like the one his parents gave him. To his surprise, Gus doesn’t give him a lecture. Here is their conversation:

“I told you I wasn’t going to give you a lecture”–Gus smiled–“and I’m not. But I would like to share something with you.” Gus took a small Bible from his back pocket and opened it. Then he handed it to Spike. “Read Romans twelve twenty-one. Read it out loud.”

Spike took the book from Gus’s outstretched hand and located the passage. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

“Do you have any thoughts on the meaning of that scripture?” Gus asked.

“Forgive instead of trying to get even. Is that what it means?”

“That’s pretty close,” Gus said.

“So you want me to forgive Todd and forget about revenge?”

“You’ll have to decide for yourself when you’re ready to forgive Todd. But I’m going to ask you to do something–something I think will make a big difference.”

“That’s the kind of thing my parents say just before they tell me to do something I don’t want to do.”

“I want you to promise to pray for Todd every day for a week. I’m not talking about a sissy prayer like ‘God bless Todd.’ I’m taking about a big-man prayer. I want you to ask God to bless Todd, to grant him good health and happiness. Ask God to look with favor on Todd and take care of all his needs.”

“Can I ask God to give Todd what he deserves?”

“Only if you’re asking God to give you what you deserve as well.”

“Okay,” Spike said after thinking about it for a while. “I’ll try what you said, but I don’t think it will make any difference. I don’t think Todd will ever change.”

“Let’s just wait and see what happens,” was all Gus said.

Of course, Gus wasn’t trying to change Todd. He was trying to change Spike. Later, Spike tells Gus that it is not easy to pray for someone and hate them at the same time. Spike begins to see Todd as a person, not as a bully. When he gives Todd a chance, Todd comes through to help in a tough situation. Through the process, Todd and Spike become friends.

Most of us realize that hatred and revenge are destructive behaviors–and yet, we engage in them anyway. We even justify what we are doing by saying, as Spike did, that the other person needs to be taught a lesson. When we spend hours ranting and raving or plotting against someone, we give that person great power over us. It is not they who are suffering, but us. We are the ones who are miserable, as the person we are angry with goes on in ignorant bliss.

Last week I had an amazing experience at the Prayer and Life workshop I’m in. For the week prior to our class, we were instructed to write down anyone or anything that was causing us distress or had ever caused us distress in our lives. I wrote pages and pages. At first I wrote the big things, but then I wrote about little things as well. For the entire week, I poured out my heart onto paper. At our class, we offered our pages of misery as a holocaust to our Lord. As the pages burned we sang: “Change my heart, Oh God, make it ever true. Change my heart, oh God, may I be like You.” Then we raised our hands and prayed the “Our Father.” Finally we hugged each other, singing, “Shalom.”

I don’t know what I expected to happen, but the next morning I felt what I can only describe as a profound silence. I had never experienced such quietness in my head. This must be what it means to be in total peace, I thought. This week is our Great Week of Peace. So far, the peace is continuing. Sometimes negative thoughts creep in, but they seem removed from me, like they happened to someone else. I don’t know how long the peace will last, but I’m becoming sort of addicted to it. I hope it will continue as long as I live.

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon

The Most Important Lesson, by Rosemary Heddens

yest to GodRecently, I shared Amber Snyder’s writing assignment. Since I also learned an important lesson, I decided to write my own essay.

I had been struggling with something for a while. It was something I couldn’t quite figure out. My confusion started when I was watching Dr. Phil. His guest was a woman who had been brutally assaulted when she was seven months pregnant. The woman who assaulted her had actually cut the baby from her womb, killing the baby and almost killing the mother.  I couldn’t begin to imagine what horror this woman had been through. But what surprised me the most was her attitude. She had totally forgiven the woman who did this. She talked about how she had let go of any animosity she might have felt.  She had such peace about it, I wondered how that was even possible. Surely, it was her faith in God that had brought her through this, but she never once mentioned God or any spiritual beliefs. It was a challenge for me to reconcile this with my own journey and my dependence on my savior to guide me through difficult situations.

I was still struggling with that dilemma when I saw a quote from Pope Francis. He said, “You don’t have to believe in God to be a good person.” How was I supposed to make sense of his words? I kept saying to myself, “My Bible says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.'”  That seemed perfectly clear. There is only one way.

Later, I was working on my homework assignment for the Prayer and Life Workshop I am participating in. I read the scripture reading for that lesson, Acts 16: 29-34. The jailer assigned to guard Paul and Silas asked, “What must I do to be saved.” They told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” As I began the prayer part of my assignment, I softly whispered the jailer’s question. “What must I do to be saved.” The answer came almost immediately. “You already know the answer.” That was true, I have known the answer to that question since I was a young girl. That wasn’t really the question I was asking. The rest of the answer threw me for a loop. “Open your mind. Your ways are not my ways. I call whom I like in the way I choose. The answer to your question is, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ Do my will and it doesn’t matter.”

Being scolded by God is never pleasant, but being told to mind my own business was a new experience for me. Just in case I didn’t get the message, the following Sunday, the gospel reading was Luke 9:46. The disciples were arguing over which one of them was the greatest. Jesus took a small child and placed him by his side. “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

I am reminded of the Addison Road song, What do I know of holy? There is a line in the song that says, “I thought I had you figured out.” What I learned is that when it comes to my heavenly father, I really don’t know anything. Another line in the song says, “I think I made you too small.” God is so much more than I could ever hope to comprehend. So I guess I’ll do as he says. I will work at becoming the person he called me to be and leave everything else to him.